King goes undefeated at third stop on JPNEWT
Skip Maloney
May 21, 2018
Judie Wilson, Linda Shea, Jackie Rivera, Nicole King, Kia Sidbury and Kathy Friend
Judie Wilson, Linda Shea, Jackie Rivera, Nicole King, Kia Sidbury and Kathy Friend
In addition to the visible struggle that plays out on the pool tables, regional tour competitors participate in a meta-game of tour rankings. At the end of a given season, based on those tour rankings, someone ends up as a given tour’s champion, which can accrue benefits ranging from cash, entry fees to major events, or, in some cases, nothing more significant than bragging rights. This meta-game tends to play out within a relatively small circle of a tour’s members, because ascension to the top of a tour’s rankings requires a combination of superior skills and consistent participation.
 
On the weekend of May 19-20, there was another early-season shuffle in the upper ranks of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) rankings. Going into the $500-added (from Coins of the Realm), third stop on the tour, which drew 18 entrants to First Break Café and Billiards in Sterling, VA, Erica Testa, with a win and runner-up finish to her credit, was the tour’s #1-ranked player. When it was over, tour director Linda Shea (third going in) had become #1. Testa (who did not compete in this event) was sharing the second spot with Kia Sidbury, who came into and out of the event as the tour’s #2 player (albeit, tied at that spot). Nicole King, who went undefeated in the event, moved into the fourth slot, while Judie Wilson, dropped a spot into #5.
 
The players don’t spend a lot of their time (if at all) thinking about this meta-game aspect of a single tournament, but it’s there, and highlights the generally tight group of women (in this case) who get together on seven separate occasions (in this case) to battle for area supremacy in the sport. It may only be the tour’s third stop, but it’s just shy of half the battle. King’s trip to the winner’s circle went through two players just below her in the rankings – Sharon O’Hanlon (7-4) and Melissa Jenkins (7-5) – and one above her (Kia Sidbury; 7-3), before meeting up with a woman in a winners’ side semifinal, Jackie Rivera, who, at this stage, had yet to figure into the current rankings.
 
Shea, in the meantime, got by Elaine Wilson 7-5 and Kelly Wyatt 7-2 to draw Kathy Friend in the other winners’ side semifinal. Shea moved into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Friend, as King was busy surviving a double hill match against Rivera. King downed Shea 7-3 and sat in the hot seat, awaiting her return.
 
On the loss side, Rivera picked up Judie Wilson, who’d lost her opening match to Friend, and was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side run that included a recent double hill win over Wyatt and a 7-4 win Bethany Sykes. Friend drew Sidbury, who, following her defeat by King on the winners’ side had defeated Elaine Wilson and Teri Thomas, both 7-4.
 
Rivera eliminaTed Wilson 7-3 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Friend, who’d defeated Sidbury 7-5. Friend just did survive the quarterfinal 7-6 but had her bid for further advancement derailed by Shea, who took the semifinal match 7-4.
 
In the meta-game of ranking points, Shea was moving into the top spot, no matter what happened in her finals match against King, who, no matter what happened in the finals, was going to end up in the #4 ranking spot. Both, however, were looking to chalk up their first win on the tour, which, one would assume, carried much more weight in the double hill fight that followed than the meta-rankings-game. King won it to complete her undefeated run and take that first 2018 event title.
 
The meta-rankings-game and the individual battles that define it will continue at stop #4  on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of June 23-24. The event will feature a separate amateur division and will be hosted by Champion Billiards and Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.